A Food Dictionary is being developed by The Radboud University Nijmegen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and food research company Wageningen UR as part of a special project in Europe.
This may not seem like any big thing, as there would be millions of food related dictionaries around the world.
So what makes this new Dictionary such a special thing – it is because, it is an Ontology.
An ontology is a way of collating information into a structure that is based on classes and then parts within those. It is designed to make finding information easier whilst also allowing for ready jumping between different classes due to the links that are shown and made.
This Dictionary is a database of over 20 million documents, including books and scientific literature with summaries, and is arranged in a way that makes finding specific information much easier.
It is expected that this compendium will be an absolute boon for those doing product development, because an immense amount of food related information will be in the one place for the first time. This will mean that developers will be able to access data and make new combinations of foods more readily.
Ontologies have been the domain of the artificial intelligence world until now. This will be a term that will become more well known by the rest of the world as more industries take up the methodology and advantages that this type of structure gives in using them.
For more information about what an ontology is and why they are being used, have a look at this article from Stanford University.